Wood Investigation May Be Nearing an End
By MICHAEL BALSAMO
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Detectives hope the latest round of renewed interest in the mysterious 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood will bring forward new witnesses, but this may otherwise be the end of the investigation, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s official said Monday.
“We’re doing our last shot here, seeing if anybody else comes forward with any information,” Lt. John Corina said at a press conference.
Wood was found floating in the ocean during a Thanksgiving weekend yachting trip to Catalina Island with her husband, actor Robert Wagner, actor Christopher Walken and the boat captain. She was found floating in the water. Her death was initially classified as a drowning.
The case was reopened in 2011 and after a subsequent news conference more than 100 people came forward with information that helped re-create the timeline, but that had reduced to a trickle for the last year and a half, Corina said.
“When the tips all dry up, then I guess we move on to the next case,” he said.
Corina said it remains a suspicious death investigation and not a murder case and that Wagner is a person of interest.
“He’s a person of interest because he was the last person with her, before she went in the water,” Corina said.
Wagner has refused to talk to detectives conducting the reopened investigation, Corina said, noting that the actor has the right to do so.
Wagner’s attorney, Blair Berk, issued a statement five years ago saying that neither Wagner nor his daughters had any new information and blaming people for trying to exploit an anniversary of Wood’s death.
“Mr. Wagner has fully cooperated over the last 30 years in the investigation of the accidental drowning of his wife in 1981,” Berk said at the time. “Mr. Wagner has been interviewed on multiple occasions by the Los Angeles sheriff’s department and answered every single question asked of him by detectives during those interviews.”
Wagner’s publicist, Alan Nierob, declined to comment Thursday.